NTSB Identification: LAX00LA257.
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Accident occurred Sunday, July 09, 2000 in Watsonville, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/25/2003
Aircraft: Interavia E-3, registration: N4426X
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The private pilot was flying his experimental single engine airplane after performing maintenance, when the engine lost power after 40 minutes of operation. According to the pilot's written statement, he "checked and measured" the gas in the fuel tanks after performing maintenance on the airplane. He calculated that he had 20 gallons of fuel on board, or 40 minutes of endurance at 100 percent power or 1 hour of endurance at 70 percent power. He started the engine at 1450 and departed at 1500. He reported that he set the power at 70 percent for the flight. The engine quit as the pilot was turning back toward the airport. He checked the fuel gauges and reported that they indicated 5 gallons in each fuel tank. He pumped the fuel pump and the engine started, ran for approximately 30 seconds, and lost power again. The pilot reported that he could not restart the engine. He elected to land in a cow pasture on the side of mountainous terrain. While attempting to land over a fence and trees, the left wing touched down, slewing the plane off course. The left main landing gear separated from the left wing and the wing sustained structural damage. In his statement, the pilot noted that he should have operated the airplane by fuel time, not the gauges.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the total loss of engine power due to the pilot's inaccurate fuel consumption calculations, which resulted in fuel exhaustion.

Full narrative available

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